Legal Advocacy and Education Reform: Litigating School Exclusion

21 Pages Posted: 15 May 2008 Last revised: 10 Aug 2009

See all articles by Dean Hill Rivkin

Dean Hill Rivkin

University of Tennessee College of Law


School exclusion has existed as a dark side of public education since the creation of America's public schools. Several cases in the United States Supreme Court memorably invalidated State and school system efforts to deny equal educational opportunities to marginalized school children and youth. In these cases, the over-riding multiple values of education were poignantly articulated in the majority decisions.

School exclusion has stubbornly persisted. It takes many forms. This article surveys the most prominent pathways to school exclusion, highlighting what has been called the "School-To-Prison-Pipeline." Various legal challenges are also evaluated. The pros and cons of litigating school exclusion cases are also assessed.

Keywords: education, school exclusion, school-to-prison-pipeline, special education

Suggested Citation

Rivkin, Dean Hill, Legal Advocacy and Education Reform: Litigating School Exclusion. Tennessee Law Review, Vol. 75, No. 265, 2008, NYLS Clinical Research Institute Paper No. 07/08-28, University of Tennessee Legal Studies Research Paper No. 68, Available at SSRN:

Dean Hill Rivkin (Contact Author)

University of Tennessee College of Law ( email )

1505 West Cumberland Avenue
Knoxville, TN 37996
United States
865.974.1481 (Phone)

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